Salman v. U.S.

Posted: November 30, 2016 by beguide in case summaries, Criminal Procedure, Fantasy Supreme Court League, Uncategorized

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WHAT HAPPENED:  Salman was convicted of insider trading based on stock tips he received from someone in a close familial relationship.   Salman was not the person who was providing the information but was instead the receiver of information, affectionately known as a “tippee”.

WHY IS THIS BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT: Presently, the standard for being a “tippee” is very low, as the State only has to prove a relationship between the parties, as opposed to an actual tangible benefit to the insider. Salman argues that the standard should be higher, in that the State should be required to prove an objective, pecuniary benefit to the insider to warrant charges to the receiver of the information.

WHAT ARE THE RAMIFICATIONS: This is me being cynical, but hear me out. Every now and again, lawyers like to take shots at changing the law in the favor of the industry they represent.  Criminal law has certain areas where the law is constantly challenged and developed because the people who get charged with those crimes have the money to hire lawyers who can make esoteric arguments that may help their clients and others similarly situated.  It is for this reason that DUI law has a ton of nuance, whereas sex crimes do not.  My guess is that Salman is a test case for criminal lawyers who represent white collar criminals to help shape the law more in their favor.  Broadly speaking, raising the standard for classifying someone as a “tippee” would prevent the government from over-charging people for white collar crime, absent more direct evidence of fraud.  Not totally sure that’s a place where the government or the Court needs to be scaling back the law, but what do I know.

ROOT FOR SALMAN IF:  You want to make it harder for rich people who manipulate the system to go to jail.

ROOT FOR U.S.  IF:  You want it to be easy for rich people who manipulate the system to go to jail.  In other words, who did you root for in the primaries?

PREDICTION:  8-0 in favor of U.S.

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